Translational Research Office (TRO)


Meet the B&IG

Contact information for the TRO's industry partnerships team, the Business and Innovation Group (B&IG).

B&IG Members:

Basma Jeelani 
Basma Jeelani

Head, Business and Innovation Group

Email: b.jeelani@ucl.ac.uk

Basma joined UCL’s Translational Research Office in 2020, as Head of the Business and Innovation Group. 

Passionate about accelerating the translation of biomedical research, Basma is responsible for forging key relationships and driving UCL’s Life and Medical Science’s strategic thinking and approach to deliver mutually beneficial partnerships with industry and enable novel innovations to move from the bench to bedside.

Basma combines a deep understanding of the healthcare sector and technology with commercial acumen and a wide professional network to drive change. Prior to joining UCL, Basma gained extensive experience at EY, working as a healthcare management consultant. She has worked alongside a vast range of healthcare organisations including NHS providers, commissioning organisations, Department of Health, regulators and emerging healthcare systems and innovators to successfully deliver strategic and operational imperatives.

Basma holds a joint honours in Computer Science and Business Studies from the University of Warwick and qualified as a Behavioural Scientist from UCL in 2021.

Anna Cupani
Anna Cupani

Senior Business and Innovation Manager - Data Science and AI

Email: a.cupani@ucl.ac.uk

Anna brings to the TRO years of international experience in research, in academia, industry and the public sector, paired with expertise in foresighting and facilitation techniques, communication and stakeholder engagement, as well as business development and research funding and management. She holds a degree in Chemistry, an MSc in Molecular Sciences and a PhD in Process Chemistry.

Anna's responsibility within the B&IG covers collaboration in the area of data science and artificial intelligence in translational research. She supports funding scoping and awards, promotes collaborations between UCL and external partners identifying the best people to involve, and facilitates workshops and project development. 

Contact Anna if:

  • You are a UCL academic with a data-rich project, looking for potential industrial partners to push forward your research
  • You are a company with an interest in data science and its healthcare applications, willing to tap into academic expertise
  • You are a non-for profit organization supporting healthcare research, interested in private-public partnerships

Nicola Ridgway 
Nicki Ridgway

Senior Business and Innovation Manager

Email: n.ridgway@ucl.ac.uk

Nicki joined the TRO in January 2022 after working as a Translational Research Manager at UCL’s Ear Institute and the NIHR UCLH Biomedical Research Centre Deafness and Hearing Problems Theme.

Before joining UCL, Nicki worked at a translational research centre at the University of Sheffield, writing grant applications and building relationships with industry. Her PhD investigated the residual chromatic processing abilities of patients with visual cortex lesions. After finishing her PhD, Nicki worked for a number of years on clinical trials evaluating interventions for mental health at the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh before moving to work in industry. With experience of working across academia and industry, she is experienced in leading partner collaborations and negotiations. 

Please contact Nicki if:

  • You are based in the Faculty of Brain Sciences and have a potential industrial research collaboration.
  • You would like advice on developing collaborations with industrial partners and strategic relationships.
  • You are a company with an interest in collaborating with researchers across UCL.

David Collier
David Collier

Senior Business and Innovation Manager

Email: david.collier@ucl.ac.uk

David joined UCL’s Translational Research Office in 2022, as Senior Business & Innovation Manager for the Faculty of Population Health Sciences. He brings a wealth of expertise in biomedical research, business theory, academic:industry partnerships, and key account management.

Before joining UCL, David completed a PhD in Ca2+ overload during acute pancreatitis, split between University of Liverpool and RIKEN Tokyo. After a short post-doc at King’s College London, he moved to Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) as coordinator of a large observational trial of genetic risk factors for pituitary adenoma. He transitioned into QMUL BD (Health) team, where he was instrumental in developing the Knowledge Transfer Partnership portfolio, and in securing large grants through NIHR, NHSX and Innovate UK. He is currently completing a Global MBA at Bayes Business School, majoring in University:Company Innovation Ecosystems.

David holds a BSc in Biochemistry (Uni of Nottingham), a PhD in Cell & Molecular Physiology (Uni of Liverpool & RIKEN Japan), and an MBA (Bayes Business School).

Contact David if:

  • You are based in UCL’s Faculty of Population Health Sciences and are looking to build industrial research collaborations.
  • You are a company seeking to connect with UCL academics in Population Health, for joint research projects, service provision, or knowledge exchange.
  • You are another academic or third sector organisation wanting to engage UCL in a consortium or strategic bid with industry.

Catherine Perrodin  
Catherine Perrodin

Senior Business and Innovation Manager

Email: c.perrodin@ucl.ac.uk

Catherine joined UCL’s Translational Research Office in 2024, as Senior Business & Innovation Manager. A biomedical engineer by training, she brings to her role 15 years of international research experience, with expertise in neuroscience, hearing disorders and the translational development of ATMP and small-molecule therapeutics. Catherine also has a track record of strategic partnerships, business development and research funding and evaluation.

Prior to joining the TRO, Catherine worked for RNID, the UK’s largest charity supporting people with hearing loss and tinnitus. In this role, she led the organisation’s translational research work to bring new treatments to patients, faster. She managed an international portfolio of investments aimed at de-risking early-stage drug development projects. She also designed the strategy and led the delivery and growth of the Hearing Therapeutics Initiative, a consultancy service and network connecting stakeholders across the global hearing R&D ecosystem.

Catherine holds a BSc and MSc in Life Sciences and Technologies from EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), Switzerland, and a PhD in Natural Sciences from the University of Tübingen, Germany.

Get in touch with Catherine if:

  • You are an academic based at UCL’s Faculty of Life Sciences, looking to engage with industry partners to develop a research collaboration
  • You are a life science, biotech or pharma company interested in working with UCL researchers via a strategic alliance, joint research project, or knowledge exchange activity
  • You are a not-for-profit organisation wanting to engage UCL in a consortium or strategic bid with industry

Itse Onuwaje
Itse Onuwaje

Senior Business and Innovation Manager

Email: i.onuwaje@ucl.ac.uk

Itse joined UCL's Translational Research Office as Senior Business & Innovation Manager in 2024, bringing diverse expertise across biotech project management, entrepreneurship and translational research. 

Before joining UCL, Itse worked at the interface of artificial intelligence and drug discovery, managing collaborative research projects between pioneering biotech start-ups and key stakeholders across the pharmaceutical industry, academia and CROs, to advance the discovery of novel small molecule drugs towards the clinic. 

Itse’s journey into the realm of translational research and entrepreneurship began with a multi-disciplinary PhD at UCL School of Pharmacy, where she led research into the development of high-throughput 3D in vitro disease models for Alzheimer’s Disease drug discovery. Itse's innovative work during her doctoral studies led to her participation in the Conception X accelerator, which aimed to commercialise advanced neurodegenerative disease models through spin-out venture, In Neutro, highlighting her dedication to translating academic research into real-world impact.  

Beyond academia, Itse is a passionate advocate for social impact and co-founder of House of Cinn, a social enterprise dedicated to empowering communities experiencing homelessness and poverty, which is strategically partnered with major retailers across the UK. Her multifaceted experience combines driving innovative partnerships, translating academic research and delivering societal impact. 

Itse holds a BSc in Pharmacology and PhD in Neuropharmacology & Tissue Engineering from UCL. 

Asha Recino
Asha Recino

Research Networks and Partnerships Manager
(Biologics, Regenerative Medicines, Repurposing TINs)

Email: a.recino@ucl.ac.uk

Asha joined the Translational Research office as part of the Wellcome Trust Institutional Translational Partnerships Award. She focusses on scoping and connecting academic researchers and industrial partners around a particular therapeutic modality (allowing rationalisation, optimisation and sharing of key platform technologies). 

Asha has a PhD in cell biology. During her postdoctoral at the University of Cambridge, Asha was an executive member of the Entrepreneurial Postdocs of Cambridge (EPOC) society with the aim to create awareness of entrepreneurial opportunities, and foster a multidisciplinary network of entrepreneurial researchers within the University. Asha is interested in the development of novel technologies, in the translation of ideas between the academic and private sectors and ultimately would like to help to accelerate the global development of safe and effective novel medical therapeutics.  

Contact Asha for:

  • Opportunities for knowledge exchange, partnerships, and strategic funding within the TINs 
  • Innovative and tailored programmes to assist cross-disciplinary working and problem-solving related to the TIN community
  • Support infrastructure available to ECRs for undertaking translational research

Nour AI Kafri
Nour AI Kafri

Research Networks and Partnerships Manager 
(Cell & Gene Therapy, Devices & Diagnostics, Small Molecules TINs)

Email: n.kafri@ucl.ac.uk

Nour joined TRO in March as a Research Networks & Partnerships Manager to support the Therapeutic Innovation Networks (TINs) under the @Wellcome Translational Partnerships Award. Her role focuses on building a thriving community through connecting UCL academic researchers and partnering with industrial partners around the therapeutic modalities of Devices and Diagnostics, Cell & Gene Therapies and Small Molecules.

Nour obtained her MSc degree in pharmaceutical chemistry and quality control from Damascus University. During her study, she worked at Novartis Pharmaceuticals as a senior product specialist and had 8 years of experience in pharmaceutical services and research.  Nour obtained her PhD from the University of Portsmouth in 2020, and her PhD project focuses on finding novel target receptors for anti-cancer therapeutics. During her PhD, she gained considerable expertise in utilising a wide range of molecular biology techniques, also she took part in Cumberland Lodge in leading workshops and chairing panel discussions, proactively networking with leaders and influencers. After She worked as a research fellow at Swansea University with RBGO group then she worked as Business Manager at The Celtic Advanced Life Science Innovation Network (CALIN) at Swansea University, focusing on creating links between industry and the academic beneficiaries and maintaining the relationships to ensure the R&D projects achieve their operational delivery profile in Ireland and Wales.

Nour also holds an MBA degree from The Syrian Virtual University.

She used to be a volunteer in The Syrian Red Crescent where she took part in activities aiming at providing support for vulnerable individuals, as well as logistic and first aid services during times of crisis.

Contact Nour for:

  • Opportunities for knowledge exchange, partnerships, and strategic funding within the TINs
  • Innovative and tailored programmes to assist cross-disciplinary working and problem-solving related to the TIN community.
  • Support infrastructure available to ECRs for undertaking translational research.